Mobile Applications for Secure Tenure (MAST) and the Technical Register for Social Tenure (TRUST) – development and applications in Iringa and Mbeya Districts in Tanzania

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

Following completion of pilot work using the Mobile Application for Secure Tenure (MAST) in three villages in Iringa District, Tanzania, in June 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commissioned the Land Tenure Assistance activity (LTA) under the Feed the Future program to add 41 more villages (estimated at 50,000 to 60,000 parcels) in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) in Iringa and Mbeya districts. The project is also assisting with low-cost methods for village land use planning.

The project commenced in December 2015 and will run through December 2019. It provides assistance to district- and village-level authorities in the delivery of land tenure services under the village land laws and acts of Tanzania.

All aspects of LTA are centered on developing workable, rapid, low-cost, transparent, and replicable procedures for first registration and subsequent transactions. Implicit in this goal is the need to streamline and package service delivery—both at village- and district levels—in such a way as to achieve full public buy-in at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this, LTA has developed and extended MAST as an adaptable data capture tool to support procedures and best practice for the first registration of land under Tanzanian land regulations.

For the long-term maintenance of the registers at village and district levels, LTA is developing the Technical Register Under Social Tenure (TRUST). TRUST will extend the basic philosophy of MAST and provide a district- and village-based system for managing transactions and maintaining the registers in the longer term using simple open source technology. TRUST will seamlessly link with the MAST functionality. Both systems will complement low-cost training and field and office procedures that are also being refined through LTA.

The project is ongoing and significant progress is being made. Capacity building at both village and district levels is progressing through learning by doing; the MAST software has been significantly improved; and development and testing of the TRUST software is now well advanced. Streamlined field procedures are now being implemented and improved. To date, LTA has completed mapping for more than 29,000 parcels in 22 villages. More than 22,000 Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCRO) have been registered at an average cost of less than $10 each. Batch processing/production of 3 Land Tenure Assistance Activity, Iringa, Tanzania CCROs has enabled issuance on a scale never before achieved at the district level. The process of village land use planning is also being supported and LTA has completed more than 20 village land use plans at an average cost of $1,800 per plan.

LTA has developed replicable, low-cost models for land use planning and first registration and subsequent maintenance of land administration at village and district levels. The land administration models are currently under development and being tested. These are now sufficiently developed and refined to enable planning for implementing in other districts and drafting a national plan. Understanding of best practices, operational requirements, and recording and data management issues is increasing. Capacity of village leaders and residents, as well as district authorities, has been strengthened and public interest is strong. Significant progress is being made toward implementation of Tanzania‘s land laws on several fronts. LTA has played, and continues to play, a lead role.

These developments have been well received by the Ministry of Land Housing and Human Settlement Development, which has recently moved to implement MAST in its projects as well as the processes used by LTA with other donor partners and government-funded land registration programs.

This paper describes progress and ongoing developments.

Key Words: Land administration; land registration; land use planning; mobile applications; low-cost procedures and processes; gender and youth; district and village institutions; participatory planning; public outreach; Tanzania: USAID